“Compromise is the best way to talk about the pros and cons of what everyone wants. At the end of the day, everyone feels ownership,” Meyer said.
When Meyer recently helped a client downsize, the client’s two daughters went from having their own rooms to sharing. Meyer had each girl keep her old bed, but she added other accents to get a unified look for the room.
“With an age difference, they each had a different style of bed,” Meyer said. “But we let them have that and pulled it together with color and patterns.”
D.C. interior designer Regan Ruiz said that she starts every child’s room by talking with the parents, who ultimately make the final decisions, but she also always sits with the children to make sure their hobbies and preferences are taken into consideration.
“Listen to what their favorite colors are and find one of each that works well together,” Ruiz said. “I’ll have them give me their top four favorites, then pull one of each that works well in the room, so there are colors they will both be happy with.”
Focus on coordinated accessories — such as beanbags, desk chair cushions and duvet covers — that will help children sharing a room feel they have personalized nooks of their own. A reversible comforter, flipped on one of the beds, can be an easy and fun way to unify a child’s bedroom while giving each bed an individual feel.
“Plan ahead,” Bethesda-based designer Kelley Proxmire said. “Make sure things can be easily removed. Maybe it’s just pillows or just a beanbag or stuffed animals, which can be replaced with something more mature” as the children grow.
As for furniture for two, consider trundle and Murphy beds, Ruiz said, or a bunk bed system with desk and storage options. These systems help maximize both floor and storage space. Hooks, storage bins and flat plastic containers that fit under beds can also help keep a potentially crowded room organized.
Another area to focus on beyond the bed is a cubby wall or workspace. Whether it’s converting a closet or carving out space in the wall for recessed shelving, Meyer said, a niche area for play, study or storage can help kids feel like they have a space of their own.
“I think wallpaper is back in a huge way,” Meyer said. “I’ve used it in a lot in children’s rooms.”
“This is a theme for home design in general, but using indoor and outdoor fabric is popular, which is great for young families,” Proxmire said.
“People seem to be moving children into double- and queen-sized beds earlier than I remember,” Meyer said. “Kids are transitioning into the teen or grown-up room much earlier.”
“I love using chalkboard paint, because it allows for creative space on a wall,” Ruiz said. “It can be wiped off easily. Same with dry-erase, white-board-type paint. A place where kids can put up what they like.”